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BEN Team Talks 7 June 2011 John Grinham Building startup teams
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BEN Team Talks 7 June 2011 John Grinham Building startup teams



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  • 1. Building Startup Teams John Grinham SetSquared Mentor.Principal at The Start Up Partnership. John.Grinham@yahoo.co.uk 1 The Start Up Partnership © 2011
  • 2. The Heart of the Business● Whats the product or service.● How are you going to sell it.● Do the numbers add up.● How are you going to organise yourself. 2 The Start Up Partnership © 2011
  • 3. In the Beginning● What are your strengths and weaknesses.● Can you work through the trade-offs between Product, Sales and Financials.● Examples: ● You know what the product is, but youve never had to make a sale. ● A basic cash-flow model is a mystery and it sounds like the least interesting thing in the world. ● Youve done enterprise sales, but youve never sold through retailers. 3 The Start Up Partnership © 2011
  • 4. Fill The Gaps● SetSquared, BEN, Mentors, Networking events, Friends, Ex-Colleagues, Linked-in etc etc.● Be bold, approach people, push for input.● Learn, try, get feedback and then move forward. 4 The Start Up Partnership © 2011
  • 5. Build Your Core Team● Get skills & experience to balance your weaknesses.● Motivation is critical. ● How are you approaching the business ? – Sell your house and put everything you own in to it ? ● Do you all have the same skin in the game ? ● Do you all see the same road ?● You need to respect and be able to work with them. 5 The Start Up Partnership © 2011
  • 6. Example – A Two Person Core Team● Agree that one leads sales and moves off product for 2 months.● Set some initial short-term goals. ● Spend 1 month learning, networking etc. ● Set a target to go and make a sale. ● As you learn how to sell, put the basics in place – sales funnel & pipeline, forecasts, tracking etc.● Buy-in a few hours of financial modelling, accounting, book-keeping, legal. 6 The Start Up Partnership © 2011
  • 7. The ultimate core team● Skill set is strong across all the bases.● You trust and respect each other.● You instinctively build on others strengths and support their weaknesses.● If youre the CEO then its your responsibility to create and maintain this environment. ● Get to know individuals strengths/weaknesses. ● Watch the decision making process. ● Understand your leadership style and how it impacts others. 7 The Start Up Partnership © 2011
  • 8. Extending the Team● Growth means pressure on people. ● The "prototype" became the product - it desperately needs re-engineering. ● Sales are lost because you cant deal with the RFP process. ● No one is covering online marketing. ● Account management is falling apart, as is customer support. ● There is no cover when someone is off sick. ...Welcome to the world of startups...:) 8 The Start Up Partnership © 2011
  • 9. Alternatives to Recruiting● Taking on staff is a major undertaking. ● Expensive. ● Changes existing team dynamics. ● Can slow you down (but a classic issue is trying to recruit to late).● Alternatives. ● Internal part-time assignment. ● Internal transfer with backfill/promotion. ● Contract. ● Outsourcing and Partnering. 9 The Start Up Partnership © 2011
  • 10. Extending the Team● Be rational on why youre recruiting. ● Cashflow and overhead kills small companies. ● Understand what each new recruit brings to the company. ● Understand exactly how you want all the expanded team or section to initially work.● Make sure you fully understand the issues, think it through, then act. 10 The Start Up Partnership © 2011
  • 11. Taking the Plunge● Be clear on what is and is not mandatory.● Offer staff rewards for introductions.● Use your networks – a friend of a friend can be worth a lot.● Build a relationship with a limited set of recruiters.● Get existing staff involved – give them veto rights.● Get a consistent process in place.● Look for skills, experience and motivation.● You wont always get round pegs for round holes - re-jig the plan and organisation to fit. 11 The Start Up Partnership © 2011
  • 12. After youve plunged in...● Be careful how you mix contract and permanent. ● "Can everyone put in extra hours", but contractors get paid.... ● Perks, Bonuses, Stock etc.● Be careful on precedents setting HR policies ● Flexible hours, home working, time-off-in-lieu, surfing, month long holidays, parking, deliveries to work etc etc.● Create your culture. ● Communication: formal and informal, keep it fresh, follow through. ● Decision making. ● The simplest things matter: Location, Environment, Vouchers, Free Fruit, Supporting Social/Sports Clubs, Inclusive Events, Outside meetings, Training etc etc. Be innovative on these ! 12 The Start Up Partnership © 2011
  • 13. From Management to Leadership● Be honest and open on everything you can - build trust – youll need it. ● If you cant talk specifics describe philosophy, background, legal position or the process.● Be realistically positive - ensure people have direction and hope and clear a path for them.● Delegate responsibility and authority.● Fix Issues Fast - use multiple sources, get a proper perspective, then Act ! 13 The Start Up Partnership © 2011
  • 14. People, Communication and Teams● Dont expect people to "just know". ● Ask open questions - "hows it going ?", "what are our options ?". ● Learn how to open and close a useful conversation ● Follow-up.● There are different personality types and they affect how teams work. ● e.g. Sales vs Product – Phone vs Email. 14 The Start Up Partnership © 2011
  • 15. Roles Change, Including Yours● Startups give a fantastic set of opportunities. ● CTO/B2B Sales/Acquisitions/Mergers/Strategy etc. ● Actively create roles that play to your strengths.● Company, team dynamics change at each step. ● The smaller the team, the bigger the impact. ● Its your responsibility to shape the organisation and roles to fit with the strengths of your people. 15 The Start Up Partnership © 2011
  • 16. The Takeaways !● Organisation is as important as product, sales and financials.● Deal with organisational & team issues early.● Communication doesnt "just happen". ● Take up smoking, drinking, and staying out all night with your team – thats how you work out whats going on... 16 The Start Up Partnership © 2011
  • 17. Build a Great Team and Enjoy the Journey. 17 The Start Up Partnership © 2011